insights | 30.05.2023

B2B, B2C, and C2C eCommerce – which model should I use?

When you’re starting out in eCommerce, it’s essential to identify your target audience – the people who are most likely to buy your products and services.

What do they do for a living, why do they want to buy from your business, and how will what you sell alleviate their pain points?

Your target customer will determine whether you adopt a B2B, B2C, or C2C business model. While these models share some similarities, they have significant differences you will need to be aware of to ensure you offer the right products and customer experience.

Article topics
  1. What is B2B eCommerce?
  2. What is B2C eCommerce?
  3. What is C2C eCommerce?

What is B2B eCommerce?

In the Business to Business, or B2B model, a business sells products or services directly to another company.

For example, a catering equipment manufacturer selling to a hotel or restaurant, or a wholesaler supplying clothes to a chain of fashion stores.

What features are important when developing a B2B website?

B2B eCommerce platforms need to have specific features in place to appeal to businesses.

As a general rule of thumb, the B2B sales process takes longer and is more complex, but the orders placed are larger. Companies need to know they are getting high-quality products at the best price.

Features that B2B businesses should take advantage of include:

  • Quote management. Prospective buyers will have different needs, and custom pricing may be in place for specific organisations. Reliable quotation management software can create, chase, and manage quotes
  • Integration with customer relationship management software. It’s essential to keep track of prospective buyers, the touch points they’ve responded to, and where they are in the sales funnel
  • Alternative payment options. Not all businesses will be in a position to pay by card, instead preferring to be invoiced or making purchases on credit
  • Product Information Management. Inaccurate product information can cause delays in the purchasing process. Product Information Management, or PIM, can help businesses keep product descriptions, imagery, and prices up to date across websites, brochures, and datasheets

What is B2C eCommerce?

In the Business to Consumer, or B2C model, a business sells products or services directly to the end user.

For example, a fashion or sports retailer selling products to individual customers.

What features are important when developing a B2C website?

The B2C sales process is generally more straightforward than the B2B process. However, it’s still important to provide a high-quality shopping experience to encourage customers to return and buy from your store again.

Features that B2C businesses should take advantage of include:

  • Email marketing. Personalised email marketing can make customers aware of new products, and entice them back to your website with offers and discount codes
  • A simple checkout process. Some B2C purchases are made on a whim, so it’s essential to ensure the checkout process is easy and frictionless. For example, offering guest checkout, or using popular payment gateways like PayPal
  • A mobile responsive layout. Over half of B2C retail sales are now made by phone, so it’s crucial to ensure a B2C platform loads quickly, looks good and functions well on mobile
  • Product reviews and ratings. Social proof helps you build trust with customers who are on the fence about buying from your business. The easiest way to encourage social proof on your site is by allowing customers to review and rate the products you sell 

What is C2C eCommerce?

Slightly different to B2B and B2C, Consumer to Consumer, or C2C, is all about customers selling to other customers. Etsy, eBay, and even Facebook Marketplace, are all excellent examples of the C2C model in action.

These websites typically operate as marketplaces. The eCommerce platform connects sellers with buyers, taking a commission or fee for providing a service.

What features are important when developing a C2C website?

Even though you’re not selling directly to customers, you must provide a reliable, secure, and trustworthy experience. Otherwise, buyers and sellers will go elsewhere.

Features that C2C businesses should take advantage of include:

  • User verification and ratings. Buyers want to know that sellers are trustworthy, and sellers want to know they’re not selling to someone who might try and scam them. Reviews, ratings, and verification options will help establish credibility on your platform
  • Payment protection. It’s important that money does not exchange hands until a transaction is complete and both parties are happy. Your business must act as an escrow agent to ensure buyers and sellers are safeguarded
  • Community forums. It’s crucial to build an engaged community around your C2C site. A well-moderated forum allows users to talk to each other, share experiences and offer feedback about your platform
  • Secure messaging. It’s imperative that you offer a clear and protected channel of communication so buyers and sellers can speak to each other and ask questions without sharing personal data

In summary: whether B2B, B2C, or C2C, it’s important to provide a high-quality website

While the primary aims of B2B. B2C, and C2C websites are to engage customers and sell products; they all do this in very different ways. One of the first things you should do before planning your eCommerce strategy is to identify whether you’ll focus on businesses or consumers, or if you will be the conduit between buyers and sellers.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that your website might target more than one of these markets, and you’ll have to take several different features into account.

Take, for example, Amazon. It has the rare distinction of being B2B, B2C, and C2C!

While the features mentioned above are great starting points, it’s essential to consider the unique requirements of your target audience when developing your eCommerce site.

This will help you identify what features are most important to your prospective customers and how you can ensure your website fulfils their needs.

Remember that no matter what type of customer you’re targeting, Xigen can build the perfect eCommerce platform to suit your needs. Contact us today to find out more.

Need help with your next big eCommerce project? Find out how we can support.

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